Summary: Part 7 of an 8-part series that was originally developed as a 13-week adult class. This part examines the Christian's relationship with and responsibility to civil government.
This is Part 7 of an 8-part series that was originally developed for a 13-week adult class, with some of the parts taking more or less than a 45-minute class period. I am starting to post the series on SermonCentral, and plan to post the remaining parts over the next few days as time permits.
I developed a set of slides on PowerPoint for use with the series and will be happy to share the PowerPoint files. The prompts reminding me to advance slides and activate animations are embedded in the sermon below. If you want to request the slides send me an Email at firstname.lastname@example.org specifying what part(s) of the series you are requesting. Be sure to include the word “slides” in the subject line of your message; otherwise I am likely to miss it. I would find it interesting to know the location and a few words about your personal ministry if you will include it in your message. Allow several days for me to respond.
Outline of the series:
I. Introduction to the series
II. God’s Plan from the Beginning
III. God’s Plan Now and Our Problem with It
IV. Justice vs Mercy and the Plan of Salvation
V. The Only Way to Eradicate Sin
VI. Providence – What God Provides in Earthly Life
VII. Providence and Civil Governments
VIII. Providence, Miracles and Phenomena
VII. Providence and Civil Governments
Providence touches our lives in many ways--some obvious to the discerning eye and some unaccountable. For the last few weeks we’ve talked about God’s providing, which is the outworking of his foreknowledge and foresight, the latter being synonymous in the bible’s original language with “providence.” We have considered only a few examples. If it were possible for us to talk about all of them, it would take a very long time – and in fact we could not discover them all even if we tried.
For the rest of the series we will examine aspects of God’s providence that we might not tend to think about as such, or might not recognize as coming from God at all.
Earthly civil government is set in place by divine providence, although they often seem to operate contrarily to his purposes. Compounding this reality is the widespread dissatisfaction that many people – perhaps most – feel with the civil government of their time.
*Click for God’s Providence…in this life (Civil Gov’t self-activates)
A. The instruction
*Click for Rom 13:1-7
To introduce today’s study, let’s read Paul’s teaching on the Christians who resided at the very seat of the current civil government.
Rom 13:1-7 – read
Think about the original recipients of this letter and the government that was in place when it was written. The Christians in Rome, to whom this letter was addressed, lived in the capital of the Roman Empire, the seat of the Empire’s authority and power.
Rome was already corrupt when she conquered Greece and became the dominant government in the world. Rome’s heads of state were a succession of deranged men like Tiberias, Caligula, and Nero. Paul and Peter both were likely were put to death on orders by Nero.
Jesus teaches his disciples not to be worried about the government killing the body. The Christian has greater concerns than the longevity of earthly life.
*Advance to Matt 10:28
Matt 10:28 "Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.
Paul’s letter to the Christians at Rome makes it clear - this and every government was and is established by God.
Whether we like and agree with the present government or not, the relationship of the Christian to a flawed government is equally clear. The requirement is stated often and clearly enough to make the Christian’s responsibility impossible to ignore.
*Advance to Titus 3
In Paul’s letter to Titus, he gives instructions in chapter 2 to older men, older women, younger men & women, bondservants--essentially everyone--and in chapter 3 he tells Titus:
Titus 3:1-2 - Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.
How does the second part of this passage (being ready for every good work, speaking no evil of others, avoiding quarreling, being gentle, and showing perfect courtesy toward all people) not pertain to the first part?
*Advance to 1 Peter 2
1 Peter 2:13-15, "Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For this is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men."